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Full text of "Byzantine Churches In Constantinople"

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obtaining the aid of the West for the Roman Empire in the East, the emperor, with most of the Greek clergy in attendance at the council, subscribed the decrees of that assembly, and on the 8th July 1438 the two Churches were officially reconciled and bound to common action. But it was a union without sufficient religious motive on the one side and without strong political interest on the other. Instead of improving the situation it made matters worse. But drowning men clutch even unsubstantial objects, and accordingly the Emperor Constantine Dragases, a few years later, implored again the assistance of the Pope, begging him to send a commission of Roman ecclesiastics to Constantinople to confer once more with Greek theologians with the hope of making the union more effective. In response to that request a Commission was appointed, having at its head Cardinal Isidore, a Greek ecclesiastic, who at the Council of Florence had cast in his lot with the Latins and been created cardinal and titular archbishop of Kiev. Isidore and his colleagues were welcomed with great demonstrations of joy, and after several meetings with representatives of the Eastern Church terms of union were once more devised. The event was celebrated by a religious service in S. Sophia, according to Roman rite, in the presence of the emperor, the senate, and a large body of ecclesiastics. In the order of the prayers offered that day in the cathedral of the East the name of the Pope was mentioned first. But these proceedings only exasperated the opponents of the union, who had the advantage in numbers and in passionate convictions. Seeking for a leader they flocked to the monastery of the Pantokrator to consult Gennadius. It was a critical moment. Gennadius retired to his cell. Then opening the door he affixed his answer in writing upon it, and again shut himself in. The oracle had spoken : c Wretched Romans, whither have ye strayed, and gone far from hope in God to put your trust in the Franks ? Your city and your religion will perish together. You abandon the faith of your fathers and embrace impiety. Woe unto you in the day of judgment.5 The words spread like wildfire and enflamed the excited crowd within and around the